After finishing the regular season with a dual against Monte Vista and a tournament in Nucla, the Montezuma-Cortez wrestling team has a head of steam entering the Class 3A Region 1 Tournament this weekend.
Last Thursday, the Panthers wrestled Monte Vista nearly evenly in the weight classes in which they competed.
Wrestling up a class at 152, senior Josh Ramos got a 9-0 major decision win, Kerwin Tom (182) dominated in a 17-0 tech fall and Matthew Broughton (132) won in a tight 2-1 decision. And then Swayde Noyes (170) fell in 12-9 decision, Stevie Fuentes (120) dropped a 3-1 decision and Quade Oliver (126) and Ethan Root (138) lost by fall.
Shawn Higgins (106) added another six points for the Panthers with a forfeit win, but the Pirates got 30 points by forfeits to take the dual 48-18.
“Head to head, it’s all starting come together,” said M-CHS head coach Shad Bellmire. “The kids wrestled tough – they all did. We stepped up Fuentes to 120, and we should’ve gotten that match, but it was good for him to have a tough match.”
The Panthers got a few more end-of-season tune-ups on Saturday in Nucla against some top-tier competitors.
Back at his natural 145, Ramos ran the table to go 3-0 to finish first, Fuentes went 4-1 with his only loss coming to Sergio Campos of Hotchkiss – the No. 1 ranked 113-pounder in Class 2A – to take second, and Broughton (132) was 3-1, also good for second, with his lone loss coming at the hands of Colton Hall of Hotchkiss, the No. 1 132-pounder in Class 2A.
Swayde Noyes (170) and Kerwin Tom (182) each went 1-2 and finished fourth in their respective classes, Ethan Root (138) was 3-2 on the day, and Casen Allmon (126) finished 0-2.
“All the kids wrestled really well there,” said Bellmire. “Josh beat a kid from Hotchkiss, and then Matt fell short to a Hotchkiss kid that was No. 1 in the state, and so did Stevie. We could have wrestled them a little better, we didn’t get off the bottom, but it was good to hit those caliber of kids getting ready to go into regionals.”
The Panthers will next compete in the Class 3A Region 1 Tournament in Buena Vista on Friday and Saturday, with the top four finishers in each weight class advancing to the state championships.
On The Mat ranks Higgins as the No. 10 wrestler in the state at 106 pounds, and he’s ranked second in the region, Broughton is No. 12 in the state and third in the region at 132 pounds, and Ramos is No. 8 in the state and fifth in a loaded 145-pound division.
Bellmire acknowledged Ramos’ talented weight class, but said that if he stays mentally tough, he can punch his ticket to Denver. He then said that his goal for his team this weekend is to “step it up.”
“It’s time to get ready to go to the Pepsi Center, and everybody is going to be fighting to get there,” he said. “Just six minutes of solid wrestling, don’t ever give up, don’t ever overlook anybody, and just get out there and get it done.”